Some pre-Rogers High game notes.
- Last game of the year for both teams. Winner avoids a last-place conference finish. Rogers is a seven-point favorite, per Hootens. But the majority of people in this week’s NWA Media poll will pick Springdale to win. Obviously neither of those will really matter Friday night.
- Should be a high-scoring game. Rogers has the worst pass defense (182.3 yards per game) in the conference. Springdale quarterback Fuller Chandler leads the conference with 2,098 yards. Springdale has the worst run defense (272.7 yards per game) in the league. Rogers’ triple-option attack averages a conference-best 269.7 rushing yards.
- The game may very well come down to which team takes care of the ball. Springdale ranks seventh in the conference with 24 turnovers, while Rogers is last with 27. Avoiding crucial turnovers late will be key for both teams.
- Coach Shane Patrick on winning the turnover battle: “It’ll be very important. If we turn the ball over, we greatly limit our opportunities to limit the football game. So we just absolutely cannot turn the ball over. We have to protect the football and our defense has got to be opportunistic and take advantage any time they put the ball on the ground. We’ve got to make sure we’re on it. And then offensively we’ve got to capitalize when we get those opportunities and turn their turnovers into points.”
- Springdale hopes to have senior right tackle Jose Ambriz and right guard Kaleb Wade back from knee injuries this week, but they’re both day-to-day. The line had some issues without them against a Southside defense that is the best in the conference.
- Patrick on the two injured linemen: “We’ll see what they can do. Neither one will practice a whole lot this week and we’ll just see what they can do on Friday. I think both of them will play if they’re capable of playing. It’ll come down to can they actually get out there and go or can they not. Both of them are tough kids and they’ll play if they can.”
- Junior Alex Davis was rotating at right guard with Wade before the injury and has taken over the position in the senior’s absence the last few weeks. Senior Jonathan Munoz got the start at right tackle Friday.
- Patrick on Munoz: “We try to give him some help where we can and try to make things as easy as we can on him and don’t depend on him to do some things Ambriz can do, by himself. So we just try to get him as much help as possible. And it doesn’t really alter our game plan other than the fact that in some of our protection schemes we try to give him some help.
- Springdale’s cornerbacks won’t have to worry about the pass much against Rogers after a busy game Friday. They got beat several times, particularly by Southside receiver Andrew Barley, but also made a good amount of plays on the ball. Cruz Manriquez had an interception and Ced Oliver broke up three passes. Their play has allowed Chris Owens to focus mainly on offense.
- Patrick on the corners: “I was real pleased with the way our corners played the other night. Cruz Manriquez played his best game of his life. And Ced’s been playing really good since he moved in as a starter. Those two guys playing, it allowed Chris to focus more on offense.
Season finale Friday at Rogers.